“Great Wall” director, Zhang Yimou, on ‘whitewashing’ controversy

Zhang (張藝謀) said:

“In many ways The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being
suggested. For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture,
with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at
tent pole scale for a world audience. I believe that is a trend that
should be embraced by our industry. Our film is not about the
construction of the Great Wall. Matt Damon is not playing a role that
was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his
character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major
heroes in our story and
he is one of them — the other four are all
. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the
emotional heart of our film. As the director of over 20 Chinese language
films and the Beijing Olympics, I have not and will not cast a film in a
way that was untrue to my artistic vision. I hope when everyone sees
the film and is armed with the facts they will agree.”

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